Program canceled, funds reallocated

For the first time in four years, Eastern’s College of Arts and Humanities has discontinued its’ annual Summer Sculpture Residency and Exhibition Program.

The program brought graduate students to Eastern’s campus for two weeks, granted participants a $1,500 stipend for sculpting supplies, living expenses and an apartment during their stay in Charleston.

Art professor Jeff Boshart, who has run the program since it started, said uncertainty over state funding forced Eastern’s art department to change their summer plans.

“The state of Illinois is not doing very well right now,” Boshart said. “We knew this was coming, and there were hints that it would be difficult to have funding for the program in the future.”

Boshart, who will retire from Eastern in two years, suggested Eastern discontinue this summer’s program in order to fund an alumni show next year.

Boshart said he hopes to host a special event next year, which will celebrate 25 years of sculpture at Eastern.

“All the funds we would have used for this summer’s program will be saved for the event next year,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll have anywhere from four to eight alumni apply for the special program next year, and we’d like to have a catalogue of other pieces as well.”

Boshart said the alumni’s sculptures will stay on Eastern’s campus for two years after the celebration.

“We just borrow the sculptures and cycle them over time” he said. “We help the sculptors build them, hold on to them for two years and then give them back to the artists.”

Despite the end of the Summer Sculpture program, Boshart said there will still be a number of new pieces on campus next year.

He said the art department has discussed contributing sculptures to the garden, which will eventually replace the university’s old scrubber building on the campus’s northeast side.

“We haven’t officially received funding for that project yet, but hopefully we can transform that part of campus into a courtyard for undergraduate sculptures,” Boshart said.

He also said the university’s art department will work on sculptures outside of the program, and cited a group of students who continued to sculpt over the summer.

Boshart said other professors are also working on pieces to display on campus, including former dean of the college of arts Jim Johnson, who is currently working on a larger sculpture.

Boshart will also contribute two of his own sculptures.

“That’s what I do as a professional artist,” Boshart said. “I would like to have a few of my pieces on campus and in the alumni show.”

John Downen can be reached at 581-7942 or at [email protected]